Exploring the Influence of Social Norms on Complementary Feeding: A Scoping Review of Observational, Intervention, and Effectiveness Studies

Elsevier, Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 5, 1 February 2021
Dickin K.L., Litvin K., Mccann J.K., Coleman F.M.

The influence of social norms on child feeding is recognized, but guidance is lacking on how to address norms and related perceptions that hinder or support positive nutrition practices. We reviewed recent peer-reviewed and grey literature to summarize social norms relevant to complementary feeding (CF), intervention approaches that address norms, and their impacts on social norms and CF outcomes. Many reports described various norms, customs, and perceptions related to appropriate foods for young children, parenting practices, gender, and family roles, but rarely explored how they motivated behavior. Community engagement and media interventions addressed norms through facilitated discussions, challenging negative norms, portraying positive norms, engaging emotions, and correcting misperceptions. Evaluations of norms-focused interventions reported improved CF practices, but few assessed impacts on social norms. Although multiple contextual factors influence CF practices, evidence suggests the feasibility and effectiveness of addressing social norms as one component of programs to improve CF practices.